Eragon wakes up the next morning (take a shot) and is emo. For once, it's justified.
I can’t live with this, he moaned.
Moaning means saying something out loud. He's not saying it out loud! He's not moaning!
Then don’t. Saphira’s words reverberated in his head.
... did his dragon just tell him to kill himself?
I guess living in the woods and not eating much makes her grumpy.
Eragon starts moping about how Garrow is gone forever. And like the last chapter, this is ALMOST a wrenching and realistic depiction of a young boy's grief over his father-figure's death... except Paolini tries again to be DEEP too.
How? Garrow is gone forever! And in time, I must meet the same fate. Love, family, accomplishments—they are all torn away, leaving nothing. What is the worth of anything we do?
... this is NOT the normal reaction of a person experiencing grief! A person who is grieving over someone who died mere hours ago should be
- upset because their loved one is gone and they are now separated from them
- emotionally spent
- in the denial stage, where they just can't believe it's true.
Nowhere on this list of emotions is "gets emo about the futility of life and how he personally is doomed to lose everything and die someday." I could see this perhaps being a reaction down the road, like in a few days, but at this point he should still be in SHOCK. And why is he moping about how he's going to die someday?!
So Saphira lectures Eragon about how the worth of living lies in being willing to... "change and experience life" or some some crap like that. Honestly, she sounds more like a dumb therapist than a dragon here, and it's kind of funny that she's talking about experiencing life when all she's experienced is living out in the woods and running away from bad guys on one occasion.
But options are before you; choose one and dedicate yourself to it. The deeds will give you new hope and purpose.
Uhhh... how about letting him do the whole "grieving process" thing? It's been less than a day since his uncle died, and you're all like, "Get over it! We've got Suey stuff to do!"
The only true guide is your heart. Nothing less than its supreme desire can help you.
"In that case, I desire... RORAN'S MIGHTY PLOW!!!!!!!"
It surprised him that, more than grief, he found a searing anger.
Anger is the second stage, but I don't think you move to it that fast!
Saphira wants Eragon to go chasing after the bad guys, and her reasons are pretty much self-serving: Remember what you said in the Spine? How you reminded me of my duty as dragon, and I returned with you despite the urging of my instinct? So, too, must you control yourself.
That's not the same fucking thing at all. Acting against basic animal instinct is NOT the same thing as spontaneously snapping yourself out of very justifiable grief after being seriously ill for three days so you can ride around on a steamroller screaming for revenge because Kevin Kline swallowed your fish.
And why the hell is SAPHIRA demanding that he go out and get revenge? Shouldn't the guy whose UNCLE was just murdered be the one who's demanding revenge, not his dragon who didn't even know the guy?
The answer is simple: I thought long and deep the past few days, and I realized what it means to be dragon and Rider: It is our destiny to attempt the impossible, to accomplish great deeds regardless of fear. It is our responsibility to the future.
Yup, apparently the best reason to go get revenge is because it will make you much awesomer! Not because you actually WANT revenge or because it will strike a blow against evil murderers who will never face legal justice because of a corrupt monarchy that uses them as weapons against the innocent... but to seem cooler. Also, they're going after what seems to be two random guys who happen to be Evilly Evil. How is that a "great deed"? How is that impossible? If you want to impress everybody, level a damn palace or something!
Also, what the hell does she mean, "responsibility to the future"? That sounds like something Gloria Tesch would say - meaning nonsensical!
In fact that speech is so ridiculous that even Eragon says that it isn't a good enough reason to leave. So Saphira reveals that her other reasons are less nonsensical, but kinda selfish: she's afraid people will find out about her, and she's afraid that Roran will freak when he finds out about her.
Besides, there is nothing here for you. No farm, no family, and—
Wow. Saphira's a bitch, isn't she? Just grind it in the kid's face. Maybe he'll get a paper cut so you can fill it with lemon juice and salt.
Eragon is understandably upset by all this, especially at the idea of leaving the place he's lived ALL HIS LIFE. Saphira, again, doesn't really care because she wants to be AWESOME.
Am I strong enough for this?
You have me.
Yeah, Eragon's royally screwed.
Then he suddenly becomes Harry Potter from that third book whose title I don't really remember and don't feel like looking up. And what would give him more satisfaction than hunting down the strangers? A terrible energy and strength began to grow in him. It grabbed his emotions and forged them into a solid bar of anger with one word stamped on it: revenge. His head pounded as he said with conviction, I will do it.
Holy crap, when did Eragon turn into the Punisher?! I hope there's more to the hero journey than this, because there needs to be SOME altruism to the character!
Nothing is more dangerous than an enemy with nothing to lose, he thought. Which is what I have become.
Yeah, now we the audience are royally screwed. Come on, even heroes who start out with the revenge thing need to have more than revenge and the awareness of their own awesomeness.
So while Eragon is leaving, he hears Elain and Horst talking. Elain wants Eragon to come live with them in their GINORMOUS MOUNTAIN VILLA, but Horst thinks that Eragon is hiding stuff from them. Apparently he saw that Eragon's tracks began where Saphira's ended, he got Garrow most of the way to Carvahall without touching the ground, and he doesn't think that Eragon just didn't notice his legs being scraped raw.
So Eragon decides to hoof it before Horst starts asking questions. He sneaks out into the village proper, and... um, what is he wearing? I mean, his clothes were pretty much wrecked and any other clothes were probably in his house, so what is he wearing now? I'm imagining Eragon running through the streets in a backless hospital gown with his butt hanging out.
The streets were clear; few people were up at this time of day.
... STREETS? This is supposed to be a butt-end of nowhere village, but it has STREETS in PLURAL?
Also, this is a community with farms! Farmers get up early! Even in modern times! Therefore, there should be plenty of people up and about at dawn-ish or even before it.
So Eragon realizes that he needs a saddle for Saphira so his abused penis won't completely fall off. He steals three ox hides from the tannery, planning to pay Gedric back someday (BTW, Paolini later picks this plot thread up in a future book). So then he sticks the hides in a tree... which apparently nobody notices... and then goes to Carvahall to steal some food.
Since Sloan is a Designated Bastard, Eragon decides to steal from him... even though a minute ago he thought that Saphira could hunt for both of us, so I don't have to worry about food. He breaks open the door and steals a bunch of meat from Sloan's store... which isn't being refrigerated or preserved. It's just lying around like this:
Meat: You WILL starve unless you have it every day!
Also note, he doesn't plan to repay Sloan for this meat. This is just straight-up stealing. Our hero: he'll pay you for stolen goods if he likes you, but if he dislikes you he'll just gleefully steal with no intent of ever paying you back. Even if he has a dragon that can go snatch cows, deer, rabbits and whatever else you need. Morals are for people who aren't Designated Heroes!
Meanwhile, Horst and Elain have apparently figured out that he's missing, so they're searching for him. Eragon runs back to where he stashed the leather... but it's GONE! dramatic musical sting
And it's Brom, who is apparently done playing around with Eragon. He's holding the leather and he's got a short sword.
“Give them back,” he snapped.
“Why? So you can run off before Garrow is even buried?” The accusation was sharp.
"Yes, because I have to start my heroic journey before the readers get bored with all this small-town stuff."
Eragon snatches away the skins and yells at Brom that this is none of his business, and that he's not going anywhere. Yeah, that's convincing.
“I hope you have enough meat to feed your dragon.”
No, he just robbed that store to piss in Sloan's eye. The dragon can feed them both easily without a butcher's shop. WHICH HE SAID.
Brom crossed his arms. “Don’t fool with me. I know where that mark on your hand, the gedwëy ignasia, the shining palm, comes from: you have touched a dragon hatchling."
Wow! Whatever shocking plot twists will come next? Could it possibly be that Brom, the weird old man living in the middle of nowhere, is actually a Jedi Knight... I mean, dragon rider?
"I know why you came to me with those questions, and I know that once more the Riders live.”
... well, not in the plural, since there's only ONE. And he kind of sucks at the whole riding thing.
Eragon is horrified, and calls to Saphira to come rescue him. And he asks how Brom figured out that he had a dragon.
“There were clues and hints everywhere; I had only to pay attention. Anyone with the right knowledge could have done the same. Tell me, how is your dragon?”
In other words, Eragon wasn't exactly subtle about hiding that he has a freaking dragon. Which he wasn't. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to put the puzzle pieces together. You don't even have to be Morlock Holmes to figure it out!
By this point, Saphira is overhead but refuses to land.
No, I will watch for a time.
Punctuation fail, that's why!
Her cryptic answer is: Because of the slaughter at Dorú Areaba. That's such a weird answer that even Eragon wants to know what the hell she's talking about. She's referring to the spot where Galbatorix won against the Dragon Riders by kicking his opponent in the CROTCH (it never gets old!). No, we're never really told why that incident is connected to Saphira refusing to land.
“I have talked with her, and she has agreed to stay above us until we settle our differences."
Whuh... wha... huh? So now Brom has a magic telepathic bond with the dragon? What the hell? And how exactly did he convince her to stay up there? Did he threaten to kick Eragon in the crotch unless she stayed away?
Eragon tells Brom about his whole revenge plan, and Brom approves. Oh goody, the guy who has contributed nothing has given his blessing. Brom pulls a giant pack out of a bush and announces that he's gonna help, and Eragon can lump it if he doesn't like that. And Eragon is worried that the Evil Minions of Vague Evilly Evil have gotten to Brom and that this is all a trap... even though Brom SAVED him from them earlier in the book. LOGIC!
Saphira agrees to meet them at the farm and flies away.
“Probably. Shall we go?”
Eragon hesitated. “I’d like to leave a message for Roran. It doesn’t seem right to run off without telling him why.”
I have a dragon and Evil Minions Of Evil killed Garrow and wrecked the farm. I'm off to get revenge and be AWESOME. Mostly be awesome.
PS, bury Uncle Garrow for me, willya? You can have the wrecked farm.
Brom apparently took it upon himself to write a letter to Roran and leave it with Gertrude, and Eragon says that that's okay without even asking what's in it ("What do you mean, you said I was being hunted by radioactive yellow weasels?!"). So they leave Carvahall, and Eragon thinks: Once we get home, I won’t travel any farther with Brom until I get some answers, he told himself firmly. I hope that he can tell me more about the Riders and whom I’m fighting.
Seriously, has this kid not figured out that Brom is a Jedi Knight... I mean, dragonrider?! He practically has "Obi-Wan Kenobi Knockoff" tattooed on his face! How blatant does it have to be?! Does he have to produce an actual dragon before you'll figure it out?! ERAGON, EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD HAS FIGURED OUT WHAT BROM IS BEFORE YOU! This is not a new and unique idea! This is a CLICHE! And the thing about cliches is that if you use them, people can frigging figure out your plot before you even get to it!
For example, anybody who has ever watched/read fantasy stories KNOWS that Brom is going to die in this book! Because that's what happens to kindly mentors in fantasy once the hero has progressed just enough to stand on his own! They die. Even Gandalf died! Granted he didn't STAY dead, but he did die and Frodo didn't know otherwise until the end of the story.
So they come to the farm, and this makes Brom’s eyebrows beetled with anger. I know that's a perfectly acceptable phrase and lots of people use it, but I really hate it. What does "beetle" mean anyway? It doesn't make your eyebrows look like bugs.
Saphira lands, and apparently she's improved a lot in the LAST FEW DAYS since she manages to land gracefully. Brom promptly gets VERY sentimental about just seeing a dragon. Hint #6,495 that BROM IS A FREAKING DRAGONRIDER.
Brom stepped forward with an expression both solemn and joyous.
I'm having trouble envisioning this. How about just saying he was "awed"?
His eyes were shining, and a tear shone on his cheek before it disappeared into his beard.
Take a shot. This is the second of many single tears that will be shed. The sobbing Eragon had in the last chapter? We're done with that.
“So . . . it starts again. But how and where will it end? My sight is veiled; I cannot tell if this be tragedy or farce, for the elements of both are here. . . . However it may be, my station is unchanged, and I . . .”
- WHAT starts again? I mean, has this sort of stuff happened before with him?
- Is he going for a Wheel of Time motif? Because nothing like that has been hinted at!
- So Brom's a fortune-teller now?
- And no, he never shows any signs of precog.
- Tragedy or... farce? WTF?
- I think Paolini means "comedy," which in the classical sense just meant a story with a happy ending, but which wasn't necessarily funny (like The Divine Comedy or classical Greek comedy). A frigging FARCE is a story which has ridiculously exaggerated characters, humor and gags, like Fawlty Towers.
- "My station is unchanged"? Dude, you don't have a dragon anymore. Or does he mean that he's still the crazy old man of the village?
- Speaking of that, are we ever going to find out why his head was bleeding?
So there's actually a rather nice scene where Saphira is curious about Brom because she's never met a human before except for Eragon and a dying man. She's curious, but she's also a little shy around somebody she doesn't know and has never even heard of from Eragon, except for the Dragonrider Mind Meld earlier.
You’ve viewed people through my eyes.
... she did? When?
You really are queer creatures, she said critically, and continued to stare at him.
I kinda like this line, because it makes sense. The only human she's ever seen for more than a minute is a scrawny teenaged boy, and now she's being confronted by a Ben Kenobi clone with a Gandalfian beard. That's a big difference.
But when Eragon tells Brom his dragon's name, Brom goes a bit psycho. He ground the butt of his staff into the earth with such force his knuckles turned white. Dude, if you didn't want him to name his dragon that, why did you give him the option?
“Of all the names you gave me, it was the only one she liked. I think it fits,” Eragon added quickly.
Of course it fits, dumbass. You named a blue dragon after a blue gemstone. I'm sure if you had had a red dragon, it would be named Rubia. A green one, Emeralda. A purple one, Amethysia. And so on and so on.
So for some reason this makes Brom sad. Yup, his dead dragon was named Saphira - it's so obvious I could rollerskate on it. And a minute later the old man looked vibrant and alive. No, we're not told what changed.
Anyway, Eragon goes into the wrecked house and goes searching for his stuff like his bow, quiver, and various other stuff lying around the place which have conveniently NOT been destroyed. Then they go tramping into the woods, except for Saphira who has to fly to avoid leaving tracks.
It was well over an hour before he finally stopped in a well-concealed bramble.
... I think he means a CONCEALING bramble. Otherwise, what's concealing the bramble?
It has a nice central clearing which is conveniently sized for two humans and a dragon. How cozy. Apparently Eragon found this bramble when they first came to the area and.... for some reason he decided to chop his way to the middle and clear it into a donut shape. Okay. That was random. Most children, when confronted by a giant mass of thorny vines, try to avoid touching them. Eragon was kind of a weird kid.
So Eragon throws some meat in a pot with some salt, and observes that the stew simmered quietly, spreading a rich aroma through the clearing. Uh, a stew requires more than just boiled meat. And boiled meat doesn't really smell that great by itself.
“Why do you want to travel with me?” asked Eragon.
A cloud of smoke left Brom’s lips and spiraled up through the trees until it disappeared. “I have a vested interest in keeping you alive,” he said.
“What do you mean?” demanded Eragon.
“To put it bluntly, I’m a storyteller and I happen to think that you will make a fine story. You’re the first Rider to exist outside of the king’s control for over a hundred years. What will happen? Will you perish as a martyr? Will you join the Varden? Or will you kill King Galbatorix? All fascinating questions. And I will be there to see every bit of it, no matter what I have to do.”
Fer cryin' out loud, why not tell him the truth?! We all know Brom is a dragonrider! Anybody smarter than Eragon would have figured it out by now... so why keep it a secret? Why is he pretending not to be anything but a crazy old storyteller? Wouldn't it make more sense to just.... tell Eragon so he can have as much information as possible?
And for that matter.... why would he join the Varden or kill Galbatorix? I mean, sure the Empire killed Eragon's uncle but... he doesn't really know that.
I want my vengeance, but for the rest . . . I have no ambition.
Bullshit. He got into this whole mess because he wanted to be a legendary hero!
So Eragon finally asks a smart question: “That may be, but tell me, how can you talk with Saphira?” That's one that Brom can't bullshit his way out of, so he takes out a sword.... okay, a long skinny bundle that is obviously a sword. Fortunately for him, Eragon has the attention span of a canary and stops asking the logical question.
He peeled away the cloth, strip by strip, like a mummy being unswathed.
Wow, that completely snapped me out of the narrative. Tell me, does some fantasy version of Egypt exist in Alagaesia? No? Yes?
Yes, I know that mummies existed in other cultures, both naturally and artificially. But as far as I know, only one culture wrapped up their mummies in strips of cloth. If I'm wrong, feel free to tell me.
Of course it's a sword, with a giant ruby on the pommel and a red sheath, plus a strange black symbol. I betcha this was owned by a villain SORT OF LIKE LUKE'S FIRST LIGHTSABER OMG THIS IS A TOTAL CLICHE. And of course, the handle fit Eragon’s hand as if it had been made for him. I wish just once a fantasy book would be written where a hero has to get used to a sword before he becomes proficient with it!
He slowly drew the sword; it slid soundlessly from the sheath. The flat blade was iridescent red and shimmered in the firelight.
.... why is the blade red? I mean, what metal is it supposed to be made out of? And what makes it iridescent? I know it sounds cool, but this sounds like a plastic kids' toy.
A duplicate of the black symbol was inscribed on the metal.
Let's see, in English it means.... IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED, I BELONGED TO A VILLAIN. YOU'LL PROBABLY GET A NEW "HERO" SWORD IN ANOTHER BOOK OR TWO.
The balance of the sword was perfect; it felt like an extension of his arm, unlike the rude farm tools he was used to.
Does this mean he expected farm tools to feel like an extension of his arm? Does that mean he waved them around like a sword?
It had been created for the violent convulsions of battle, to end men’s lives, yet it held a terrible beauty.
When people wax eloquent about the prettiness of a sword, I'm always reminded of what Dallben had to say about it: "My dear boy, this is a bit of metal hammered into a rather unattractive shape; it could better have been a pruning hook or a plow iron." Ah, Dallben, you were so much cooler than Brom.
So Brom says that (DUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHH) this is the sword of a Rider, and that usually the blade matches the dragon's color but hey, this time it'll have to be red and blue.
“When a Rider finished his training, the elves would present him with a sword."
As well as an assortment of chocolates and a gift certificate.
"Their methods of forging have always remained secret. However, their swords are eternally sharp and will never stain."
Except for some reason they are able to put food coloring in the metal and have it stick. Nobody know show or why, but otherwise they couldn't have all the colors of the rainbow!
"This sword is named Zar’roc. I don’t know what it means, probably something personal to the Rider who owned it.”
Ah yes, in an ancient and magical tongue it means: THIS SWORD BELONGED TO A VILLAIN WHO IS PROBABLY RELATED TO THE MAIN CHARACTER!
Brom also won't explain where he got it, just saying that it involved "a series of nasty and dangerous adventures" and that "You have more of a claim on it than I do"... sigh. Yeah, Eragon IS dim enough to not put the pieces together. And don't worry: this will make a LOT less sense in the future.
Eragon thanks Brom, and asks what the symbol is, and it turns out that the symbol is the "Rider's personal crest" which because it's black MUST MEAN IT BELONGED TO SOMEONE EVIL. You know, just once I would like a character with black stuff to actually be GOOD.
Not to mention that this sword was made and given to the Rider when he was on the side of the good guys, right? So... exactly why did they give him an EVIL crest of EVILNESS?
“Now, if you must know, anyone can learn how to speak to a dragon if they have the proper training. And,” he raised a finger for emphasis, “it doesn’t mean anything if they can."
So of course, nobody except Dragonriders and Suey characters (like Elves) ever manage to. And old men who are TOTALLY NOT DRAGONRIDERS.
"I know more about the dragons and their abilities than almost anyone else alive."
What about Galby? What about the Forsworn? I'd think they would know a thing or two.
"On your own it might take years to learn what I can teach you. I’m offering my knowledge as a shortcut. As for how I know so much, I will keep that to myself.”
WHY AREN'T YOU TELLING HIM? Everybody except Eragon already KNOWS that you're a Dragonrider! You're the Obi-Wan of this story, so there's no suspense! Now it would be an epic plot twist if he were actually NOT a Dragonrider and just a huge Dragonrider nerd! That would be unexpected! It's SO FREAKING OBVIOUS that he is a former Dragonrider! People who are DEAD have figured it out!
He pulled out the blade and showed her the sword. It has power, she said, touching the point with her nose.
Of course it does! It belongs to the protagonist!
The metal’s iridescent color rippled like water as it met her scales. She lifted her head with a satisfied snort, and the sword resumed its normal appearance. Eragon sheathed it, troubled.
I'd be troubled too, since apparently his dragon screws up his magic shimmery sword... which seems like a huge handicap for someone who's supposed to ride on a dragon.
In case you're wondering, that will never be explained EVER.
Brom raised an eyebrow. “That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about. Dragons will constantly amaze you. Things . . . happen around them, mysterious things that are impossible anywhere else. Even though the Riders worked with dragons for centuries, they never completely understood their abilities. Some say that even the dragons don’t know the full extent of their own powers. They are linked with this land in a way that lets them overcome great obstacles. What Saphira just did illustrates my earlier point: there is much you don’t know.”
HOLY CRAP, Paolini isn't even pretending that he's creating a coherent world here! He is setting up his dragons as a whole SPECIES of living dei ex machina! He's not just leaving the door open for Saphira to solve EVERY problem, he's smashing the door off its hinges and ripping out the frame so there can NEVER be another door! He is deliberately setting up NO LIMITS!
Magical problem? Saphira will somehow overcome it because of "mysterious things"! Unbeatable enemy? Don't worry, Saphira's powers will level up because even dragons don't know how much they have! Have an ouchie-booboo? Saphira will fix it with magic dragon-fu!
Finally, Eragon asks why the strangers who killed his uncle are.
“They are called the Ra’zac. No one knows if that’s the name of their race or what they have chosen to call themselves. Either way, if they have individual names, they keep them hidden. The Ra’zac were never seen before Galbatorix came to power. He must have found them during his travels and enlisted them in his service. Little or nothing is known about them."
Translation: I haven't really worked out the backstory on these guys, so I'm just going to set them up as the Nazgul knockoffs of the series and leave most of the facts about them a mystery so I can fill that in later.
"However, I can tell you this: they aren’t human. When I glimpsed one’s head, it appeared to have something resembling a beak and black eyes as large as my fist—though how they manage our speech is a mystery to me. Doubtless the rest of their bodies are just as twisted. That is why they cover themselves with cloaks at all times, regardless of the weather."
Holy shit, can we PLEASE have some logic here?! This sounds very cool, but come on! These guys were walking around Carvahall in FULL DAYLIGHT, talking FACE-TO-FACE with the residents of the town. Cloaks may cover some details of their faces, but unless those hoods come down to their frigging collarbones PEOPLE WILL SEE THEIR FACES. There is just no way that the people of Carvahall wouldn't have noticed BEAKS! Cloaks and hoods just don't fucking work that way!
I might be able to believe it if it were NIGHTTIME. At least in nighttime with no street lights or nearby lanterns, you could say that people couldn't see very clearly. But with the sun shining on them, who could possibly NOT notice giant insectile eyes and a beak?!
“As for their powers, they are stronger than any man and can jump incredible heights, but they cannot use magic."
But the million-dollar question is: do they sparkle?!
"I also know they have a strong aversion to sunlight, though it won’t stop them if they’re determined."
... which is nothing like these guys.
"Don’t make the mistake of underestimating a Ra’zac, for they are cunning and full of guile.”
Does Eragon really need to be told this when they TORE HIS HOUSE APART?
“How many of them are there?” asked Eragon, wondering how Brom could possibly know so much.
“As far as I know, only the two you saw. There might be more, but I’ve never heard of them. Perhaps they’re the last of a dying race."
- Or, "I'm sorta going with this idea, but I'm still leaving the door open in case I want to change that later on."
- Also, how would Brom even KNOW? Apparently he's lived pretty consistently in Carvahall, but he not only knows what is up with other parts of the kingdom but he can identify the Ra'zac!
- And for fuck's sake, how does he even know that those two Ra'zac are the SAME ONES he's heard of before?
"You see, they are the king’s personal dragon hunters."
I'm sorry, but how does that naturally follow from "maybe they're the last of their race"?
"Whenever rumors reach Galbatorix of a dragon in the land, he sends the Ra’zac to investigate. A trail of death often follows them.”
... so they just kill anybody who's RUMORED to have a dragon, even though obviously... nobody ever would have one, since nobody's mentioned anything about other dragon-riders popping up?
And for that matter, why is he sending the Ra'zac to investigate? Wouldn't it make more sense to send in some unobtrusive humans who could blend in and find out stuff a lot more easily than the INSECT-BIRD-GUYS? And then, if there's a dragon, he could send in the Ra'zac to kill the person in question, or force them to serve Galby, or something like that.
Brom blew a series of smoke rings and watched them float up between the brambles. Eragon ignored the rings until he noticed that they were changing color and darting around. Brom winked slyly.
"Ha ha, Gandalf's smoke galleon still kicks my ass. Wait, why am I doing any of this anyway?"
Eragon was sure that no one had seen Saphira, so how could Galbatorix have heard about her?
Maybe you shouldn't have tweeted about it, Eragon.
When he voiced his objections, Brom said, “You’re right, it seems unlikely that anyone from Carvahall could have informed the king."
Except Sloan! Sloan's powers of contrived douchebaggery know no bounds!
"Why don’t you tell me where you got the egg and how you raised Saphira—that might clarify the issue.”
Question marks, dammit! Use question marks!
So Eragon spills his guts about everything, and then says, “I just wish I knew where she came from. And Saphira doesn’t remember.” She was in an EGG. How could she remember anything if she was inside an EGG?
"I am sure that no one besides us has seen Saphira."
Unless they decided to take a walk in the woods and noticed the dive-bombing blue monster in the sky catching deer and eagles.
"The Ra’zac must have had a source of information outside of this valley, one who is probably dead by now. . . . You have had a hard time and done much. I’m impressed.”
Presumably we're meant to assume that Sloan tipped them off, but honestly... how could he? Why would he? Nobody around there except Brom would know a dragon egg from a chicken egg, so why would he tip them off?!
Eragon then brings up the blow to Brom's head (FINALLY! It's been three chapters!), and Brom tells him that he was skulking around the Ra'zac camp one night so he could find out what they wanted "when they surprised me in the shadows. It was a good trap..." TRAP? What trap? They CAUGHT you. Being caught is not the same thing as setting a trap! Just admit you were dumb and wandered right into their hands!
"but they underestimated me, and I managed to drive them away. Not, however,” he said wryly, “without this token of my stupidity. Stunned, I fell to the ground and didn’t regain consciousness until the next day. By then they had already arrived at your farm. It was too late to stop them, but I set out after them anyway. That’s when we met on the road.”
... waitwaitwaitwait. So let me get this straight. The Ra'zac are these mysterious, superpowered creatures of supreme evil and nastiness, who leave a trail of death behind them wherever they go... and all they do is knock Brom out and.... leave him otherwise unharmed on the ground?! They don't bash in his head with a rock, they don't rip out his guts, and they don't even tie him up. They just give him a little scrape on the head, and leave him to sleep right next to their camp while they scuttle off to do their work.
WHY THE FUCK DO THEY DO THAT?!?!?!
I mean, what is this? Are these supposed to be like Anita Blake villains who conveniently turn their backs after giving the heroine a knife, or insist on having the final showdown in a place where her power is strongest? Or is Brom just ashamed that he got his ass handed to him, and made up the whole "the Ra'zac are DANGEROUS and DEADLY and SUPERSTRONG!" thing on his own?
In fact this is so stupid that even Eragon can't believe it: Who is he to think that he could take on the Ra’zac alone? They ambushed him in the dark, and he was only stunned?
Then Eragon gets pissed because Brom didn't tell him about the Ra'zac when he saw the DragonSue Mark on his palm, and Brom basically said that he thought that he could have dealt with the Ra'zac himself and talk to Eragon about the whole thing later. Yeah, Brom is a dumbass.
"But they outsmarted me. It’s a mistake that I deeply regret, and one that has cost you dearly.”
They didn't outsmart you! They caught you because you were HANGING AROUND THEIR CAMP. It doesn't take a genius to do that.
“Who are you?” demanded Eragon, suddenly bitter. “How come a mere village storyteller happens to have a Rider’s sword? How do you know about the Ra’zac?”
HE'S A DRAGONRIDER, YOU SPAZ! All the puzzle pieces are there and arranged in order, so why can't you manage to put them together?!
Brom tapped his pipe. “I thought I made it clear I wasn’t going to talk about that.”
Why are you screwing around with this kid, Brom? He's already in it up to his neck and a person with more than three brain cells would have figured it out. I mean, what do you GAIN by keeping the secret from someone who's got a frigging dragon?
Eragon understandably goes apeshit at this, because Brom's closed-mouthedness led to his uncle getting killed. Honestly, I'd be strangling Brom with his own Gandalfian beard by now.
“I’ve trusted you this far because Saphira respects you, but no more!"
"... because for some reason I totally trust the judgement of a newborn lizard who's never met anyone but me!"
"You’re not the person I’ve known in Carvahall for all of these years."
"You're actually A CYLON!"
So since Eragon wants answers, demands answers and deserves answers, Brom... doesn't answer. “You’ve probably never thought about it, but most of my life has been spent outside of Palancar Valley. It was only in Carvahall that I took up the mantle of storyteller. I have played many roles to different people—I’ve a complicated past. It was partly through a desire to escape it that I came here. So no, I’m not the man you think I am.”
Seriously, JUST TELL HIM. Why is Paolini dragging this out so long when it's freaking obvious who the hell Brom is?! I mean, Obi-Wan told Luke who he was because there was no POINT in keeping it a secret from the future Jedi he was about to train, because Luke would be better off knowing what the hell was going on, and because he was already neck-deep in it!
We have a similar situation here... except Eragon is even deeper in it than Luke was! And yet for some reason Brom REFUSES to just tell him, "I'm an ex-dragonrider, and that's how I know all this." TEN WORDS! Just ten words and half this chapter could have been obliterated!
Naahhhh, I don't wanna tell you who I am!
“Ha!” snorted Eragon. “Then who are you?”
Brom smiled gently. “I am one who is here to help you."
Yes, you've done a BRILLIANT job so far. You've gotten his home destroyed, his uncle murdered, and now he's living in a blackberry bush in the middle of the woods in the middle of the winter. So keep helping him, so his cousin will also die and his testicles will be chewed off by snapping turtles.
"Do not scorn those words—they are the truest I’ve ever spoken."
I would scorn it, because Brom really sucks at the "helping" thing.
"But I’m not going to answer your questions. At this point you don’t need to hear my history, nor have you yet earned that right. Yes, I have knowledge Brom the storyteller wouldn’t, but I’m more than he. You’ll have to learn to live with that fact and the fact that I don’t hand out descriptions of my life to anyone who asks!”
Is he doing this to just be a prick? Like I said, he has NO REASON to not tell Eragon what EVERYBODY HAS ALREADY FIGURED OUT! He's actually HANDICAPPING Eragon by not telling him what kind of help and knowledge to expect, and by keeping big chunks of information hidden because OOOOOOO it might reveal what he truly is!
And "anyone who asks"? YOU FUCKING RUINED HIS LIFE because you were trying to be all cloak-and-dagger about helping him, and yet you think you don't owe him anything?!
Unsurprisingly, Eragon is pissed and goes to sleep. Take a shot.